Category Archives: vegetables

Sauerkraut & Dumplings

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A few months ago I spent the afternoon with my Great Uncle Ted and my Great Aunt Ann learning the secrets of Flossie’s pound cake. We talked about my great grandmother, my grandmother, and the whole Ballenger family, but mostly we talked about Ted’s favorite dish, sauerkraut & dumplins.

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I talked for a long time that day with Ted about his memories growing up, his mother’s family home in St Pauls, his Caudell uncles and the fast and furious lives they led. We talked about Flossie, her life, her roots. And we talked about food.

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Every conversation we had, no matter what it started with, circled back to sauerkraut and dumplings. Ted was incredibly focused. After I left I emailed his niece, my dad’s cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s mother Nita was my grandmother’s older sister, and Bobbie and Nita were inseparable. Elizabeth said while she wasn’t totally sure of the origins of the recipe, she made it all the time for Nita. She worked out a recipe and sent it over to me and I tried it out on my captive Fauxgiving audience.

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I would like to state here that I am 100% team Ted. He is completely right, this was better than every other food I made that day and I want to eat it every day forever. It was delicious- the spicy and vinegary sauerkraut worked perfectly with the fluffy and salty dumplings. This is my new favorite food. Sorry, pie.

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Sauerkraut & Dumplings


1 head cabbage, shredded

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp caraway seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper


1 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

1 cup sifted flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

Combine half of your shredded cabbage and your vinegar in a large skillet. Simmer for 10 minutes, and stir in the remaining cabbage and the spices. Simmer over medium low, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.

Mix your dumpling ingredients together. Spoon onto the hot sauerkraut and cover. Cook, leaving covered, for 30 minutes, long enough for the dumplings to set. Serve hot.

Sliced Baked Potatoes

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Have you had Hasselback potatoes before? For the past few years I’ve seen them all over my pinterest throughout the holiday season, and I was curious. I mean, there isn’t much better than a baked potato, and the prospect of getting the butter inside the potato as you bake it was irresistible.

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If I were to choose my two favorite ingredients in the kitchen they would be salted butter and red pepper flakes. So simple, but both add a depth and complexity of flavor.  I use them in everything from roasted turkey to grits, and they’ve become a staple in my pantry. On potatoes, there’s nothing better (unless the potatoes are mashed, and then, mayonnaise).

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Sliced Baked Potatoes

5 yukon gold potatoes

1 stick of salted butter

2 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Heat oven to 425F.

Wash the potatoes and slice, short ways, from the top down, stopping just short of the skin. The potatoes should stay attached in one piece held together by the bottom skin.

Top with cubed butter, spices, and minced garlic. Roast for 30 minutes, and then brush with olive oil. Roast an additional 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Roasted Okra

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Have you recovered from your holiday weekend yet? I’m not sure I have! We got home last night from a round trip to Philadelphia and while it was a great visit with family and friends, I’m wiped. Thanksgiving this year came on the heels of two back to back trips- me in New York and Dan in San Francisco, which means we’ve been on the road and eating way too much takeout. This week I’m looking forward to a bit of time spent at home, vegetables, and snuggling my husband and dogs.

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Roasted Okra

2 dozen okra

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp sea salt

Heat oven to 400F. Toss okra in olive oil and sea salt. Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp. Eat hot!